“Kobra and the Lotus” by Adam McCann
Released through : Napalm Records May 12 2017
It is a bold move to release a double album or an album of two parts, several bands have done this in the past to varying degrees of success; Guns N’ Roses, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Sixx:AM to name a few. Canada’s Kobra and the Lotus are now attempting the feat of ‘the two part album’, with the first half of 2017 seeing the band release ‘Prevail I’ on the 12th May with Part II allegedly seeing the light of day later in the year.
Led by the enigmatic Kobra Paige, Kobra and the Lotus broke through to international recognition in 2009 with a sound that floats between your standard female fronted heavy metal band and your Scandinavian power metal. Kobra and the Lotus achieve this by playing a sort of modern heavy metal sound that would appeal to fans of Huntress and Benedictum, touching upon the power metal flairs of Unleash the Archers with the rhythmic pounding of the double bass drum and the undeniably perfect soaring vocals. However, unlike Unleash the Archers ‘Prevail I’ does not wander too far into fantastical themes, preferring to stay much more on personal themes such as ‘Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber)’ and ‘Manifest Destiny’. This puts Kobra and the Lotus more on par with their female fronted European counterparts obviously without the symphonic elements attached.
‘Prevail I’ fires into ignition with the spectacular one-two punch of ‘Gotham’ and ‘TriggerPulse’, both of which were chosen beyond doubt to be released as singles. Kobra and the Lotus set the fire burning for ‘Prevail I’ by initially releasing ‘TriggerPulse’ – possibly the best track on the album with its palm muted chugging build up, each chord emphasised by the hammering of the bass drum giving the beginning of the song an almost metalcore feel, a fact made stronger once the guitar begins to arpeggiate notes. Fantastic musicianship aside, it is the powerful classically trained vocal of Paige which, when coupled with a modern production sheen steals the show and aids ‘TriggerPulse’ into being one of the stand-out tracks on ‘Prevail I’.
Quite predictably, ‘Gotham’ is themed around the Detective Comics vigilante crime-fighter Batman. As ‘Gotham’ spurs ‘Prevail I’ into life, Paige’s vocal soars effortlessly, ascending and descending like the caped crusader against the Gotham skyline with lyrics such as: “become the corruption with wings of destruction” and “this city is evil” capable of making any Batman fan drool with excitement. Could this be the start of a new trend? We have all heard of pirate metal, but now Batman metal?
Unfortunately, ‘Prevail I’ tails off as it begins to wander into filler territory with nothing that you haven’t heard before in this sort of music. Music videos were produced for both ‘You Don’t Know’ and ‘Light Me Up’, which are sadly some of the weakest tracks on the album and luckily these are saved by being bookended by the much better ‘Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber)’ and ‘Manifest Destiny’. Once more, another album is sullied by a rather boring instrumental track and although it gives guitarist Jasio Kulakowski a chance to shine with some fantastic sweeping against the overpowering personality of Paige, you can’t help feeling that you’re listening to an Yngwie Malmsteen outtake from 1991.
As they say, all’s well ends well and ‘Prevail I’ concludes rather strongly with the battle rousing ‘Hell on Earth’ and ‘Prevail’, the latter of which would give Huntress or even Doro Pesch a run for their money. As the dust settles with ‘Prevail I’, you can’t help wondering if ‘Prevail II’ will match up to standards or whether Kobra and the Lotus have spread themselves far too thin over two albums and instead of getting one decent album, you come away with two albums no better than average. (72/100)
Adam McCann/Mhf Magazine